Video games improve surgeon dexterity

Aug. 18, 2008 at 4:45 PM

BOSTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Some video games improve gamers' dexterity as well as their ability to problem-solve -- attributes useful in students and surgeons, U.S. researchers said.

Fordham University psychologist Fran C. Blumberg and Sabrina S. Ismailer examined 122 fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders' problem-solving behavior while playing a video game that they had never seen before. As they played the game, the children were asked to think aloud.

"Younger children seem more interested in setting short-term goals for their learning in the game compared to older children who are more interested in simply playing and the actions of playing," Blumberg said in a statement. "Thus, younger children may show a greater need for focusing on small aspects of a given problem than older children.

In another paper, Iowa State University psychologist Douglas Gentile and William Stone said a study found 303 laparoscopic surgeons showed that surgeons who played video games requiring spatial skills and hand dexterity and then performed a drill testing these skills were significantly faster at their first attempt and across all 10 trials than the surgeons who did not the play video games first.

The findings were presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Boston.

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